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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

In Support of Food Trucks

By Sid Hartley


August 21, 2019
Wednesday AM

As you may have noticed, my campaign flyer includes that I am in favor of food trucks in the borough. Food trucks would be a considerable improvement of vendor options for our community and for our visitors. In this day and age, people carry on remarkably different lives than our parents and grandparents. Work and school schedules do not reflect that of our elders in that, they are no longer consistent, and usually, they require a larger time dedication. In my millennial generation (those born between 1981 and 1995, and not to be confused with today’s adolescents), are conflicted with carrying multiple jobs to afford inflated rental fees and an astronomically high college tuition. Additionally, most millennials live a lifestyle that does not reflect what used to be considered “traditional” as our elders, meaning we often have children to care for, but are not always able to be at home with them as a stay-at-home parent. That said, we make accommodations to care for our families and for ourselves to make up for the lack of time that our elders once had. We just don’t live the same lifestyle as our previous generations.

So how do we do that? Well, most of us order take-out four to five times a week. According to “The Simple Dollar,” Americans eat “an average of 4.2 commercially prepared meals per week. In other words, as a nation, we eat out between four and five times a week, on average. This number equates to 18.2 meals in an average month eaten outside the home” (Hamm, 2017). 

What does that mean for Ketchikan? Well, let’s point out the significant difference in price of food in Ketchikan compared to that of communities in the lower 48. Ordering pizza for a family typically costs somewhere between 40 and as high as 80 dollars. I know because, well, my family has quite a lust for the delicious pie. So, if we take the mean $60, and multiply it by four times a week, that’s an average $240 per week spent on family meals. In the lower 48, you can order a pizza for $10, and not feel so robbed every time you need to feed your family. So how do we compensate for such outrageous pricing in our community? We look for bargains! The best bang for your buck is at small food establishments that offer affordable (and most importantly, QUICK) service. We don’t want to opt for MacDonald’s every week because it is insanely unhealthy for you, but we want something financially and time manageable, because we still have to rush to work, appointments, games, school functions, and still have time to sleep five hours before the chaos ensues again. We just don’t want to stop in an establishment because anything over 10 minutes feels like a lifetime when your plate is tremendously full. Food trucks would be a wonderful addition to our already awesome community, and would allow families and the younger generation to be provided with more options for quicker service and affordable prices.

How do we get this going? Assembly Member Amanda Pierce recently put this on the table on August 5thwhen she moved to “direct staff to draft the necessary documents to remove the mobile building restricted overlay zone from specific areas of the Borough” (Pierce, 2019). With an ordinance amending KGBC Title 18, we should move forward to add commercial mobile buildings permitted within the General Commercial Zone, defined under 18.25.010. As it is, our downtown dock caters to a variety of food vendors, operating within shack constructions. Permitting the use of commercial mobile buildings would allow for food trucks to operate under the same parameters as their food vendor counterparts. In communication and cooperation between our Borough Assembly and our City Council in the Cooperative Relations Committee, I say let’s give our community members what they deserve: affordable, time-manageable options. Let’s allow for economic development in our community, and creative ingenuity for aspiring business owners. As I see it, this is a win-win for both Ketchikan merchants and consumers.

Sid Hartley
Ketchikan, Alaska



Editor's Note:

The text of this letter was NOT edited by the SitNews Editor.


Received August 17, 2019 - Published August 21, 2019

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